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The Communicators

Ajit Pai News/Business. (2012) Interview with Ajit Pai, the Federal Communication Commission's new Republican member. New.

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00:30:00

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San Francisco, CA, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Channel 91 (627 MHz)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Fcc 5, Washington 4, Kansas 2, Us 2, Scheck 1, Metropcs 1, Davdi Cohen 1, Mr. Kaelin 1, David Cohen 1, Spence 1, Brown 1, Pittsburgh 1, Chicago 1, At&t 1, Telecomm 1, Comcast 1, Un 1, San Francisco 1, Sec 1, California 1,
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  CSPAN    The Communicators    Ajit Pai  News/Business.  (2012) Interview with Ajit Pai, the  
   Federal Communication Commission's new Republican member....  

    October 6, 2012
    6:30 - 7:00pm EDT  

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it should act at the same pace that the industry should regulate. the sec -- fcc has not acted with much alacrity in delaying action on other issues. i wanted to think of different ways that the commission could speed up this process. second one of the key things that the commission can do is enable a more dynamic industry. there have been a number of different proposals on the table. i tried to think of different ways that the fcc can remove barriers from infrastructure. for every billion dollars that the private sector spence -- 15,000 new jobs can be created.
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from a regulatory perspective, my goal would be to remove the barriers to enable the private vendors -- >> what is one of the barriers that can be removed? >> the primary one is a more consensual nature. that is the -- telephone regulations were developed in an era where communications were traveling over copper wires. those regulations were monopolized. it was a very different landscape that you had today. there is a lot of different competition where you have cable and wireless companies competing with the telephone companies that provide the same surface -- service. we should take a forward thinking approach and a look at more technologically neutral,
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but regulatory way of thinking about some of the services. when it comes to fiber to plummet, we should not think of it in the same way as we thought of copper wire monopolies back in the 1970's. we should think about fiber providers. >> do you think your fellow commissioners would think the same way? >> it depends on the issue. some issues we agree and some we did not. it does not have to deal with the fcc directly. governor brown in california assigned -- making sure that internet protocols would remain free from regulation. that was a bipartisan group coming together saying we want to have an ovation and we want to incentivize investment in that next -- an ovation and we want to incentivize assessment
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and the next generation. >> joining our conversation is one of our guest reporters. >> let us talk a bit more about communication. you were just mentioning -- do you think in a few years tech companies will be competitive with cable companies in wire line access? >> i think so. there has been an increased amount of competition. last year alone, $66 billion of infrastructure investments -- that is a substantial amount. especially in the current economic climate. i cannot believe they would not make eight investment if they did not think it was a competitive marketplace. -- a investment if they did not think it was a competitive marketplace. the rules of the road are going
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to be -- they wanted the rules of the road to be predictable. we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure their regulatory framework is predictable. >> one of the hottest topics in communications as a spectrum and the incentive auction. should one entity or company be able to purchase all of the spectrum made available through this option? >> we have to ensure robust participation. that applies not just to the reverse auction, but also to participation on the forward option, which is a wireless broadband providers. i am not in the view that the fcc should artificially participate. we want to make sure that many wireless providers have a chance
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for this auction. my view is as long as we make clear rules of the road and do not artificially limit second holdings or other types of regulatory barriers, we should be ok. >> one company can purchase at all if they simply make the highest bid? >> it should be to ensure that the spectrum reclaim our relinquished by the providers is put to the highest value. what is the fight -- highest value? it is typically measured by who is the highest bidder. one of the artificial limits was setting limimts -- limits in particular markets where providers can only hold a certain amount. it is not based on particular
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facts. that view could unintentionally limit how robust the spectrum auction could be. >> one of the concerns from the broadcast aired -- broadcasters are -- the spectrum they get up earlier has not been put into use. are those their concerns? >> it is important for us to take into account those concerns. one of those principles that i outlined was whatever action the commission takes has to be fair to all stakeholders. one of the principal stakeholders are the television broadcasters. we need -- concerns about the entire process. how would be be packing process work, for example. how should they think about
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valuation that they hold. what should be the guide lines to channel sharing? are these concerns we should listen to as we set up the auction? >> what about the government held a spectrum? >> that is another piece of the puzzle that i have been talking about since i got to thef. -- fcc. we need to think creatively about ways of clearing and reallocating the federal spectrum in terms of where it is being used and not. i am not opposed to innovative sharing strategies. >> do you think there is a better solution? is there a better solution than the spectrum auction? >> as i outlined in pittsburgh,
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i have taken and all of the above approach. one critical part of the puzzle that could work to the benefit of consumer -- is not the only one. there are bands were this commission could take action. the national broadband plan two years ago created a threshold for action in terms of spectrum. freeing up 500 mhz by 2020. the mhz that are up for reallocation by 2015 are still on the table. i am consistent with my of the above approach and i believe we will take a look at all possible solutions. >> one of the other issues is lightsquare making a new
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proposal. >> i have seen a proposal about that proposal. i have not had an opportunity to read that. nor any comments on the filing, but i certainly look forward to looking at the record. >> give us a sense of the filling of the commission about lightsquare. the discussion of spectrum over the past year and a half. are you optimistic that it could reach it is this a last- ditch attempt to keep bidders away? >> i have not had an opportunity to look at the filings or talk to my colleagues. some of my colleagues who were here during the previous proceeding -- we have not had a chance to discuss it.
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>> another spectrum issue, right now there is tension between the administration to what extent -- is a wishful thinking for industry that they are going to get clear at this point? >> i am not opposed to innovative strategy in sharing. to the extent that federal use as our on willing to relinquish -- federal esres areun -- federal users are un willing to relinquish. our principal coal should be to reallocate the spectrum. from a commercial standpoint, you are able to make much more advanced plans in terms of the spec from. -- spectrum.
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the valuectrum goes down because you are not quite sure how to deploy it in the best way possible. >> because the fcc -- does the fcc have their work cut out for them in terms of the clearing strategy? >> i am optimistic that we can reach consensus on this. >> another issue the fcc is looking at is the exclusivity band. . here is what david cohen said about the exclusivity ban. >> it is the appropriate action to take. that has been comcast's
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position. our order lasts until 2018. whatever it applies to in that period of time -- after that period, we should be treated like everybody else. as people believe that it is inappropriate for the exclusivity band to continue, they need to continue -- go back to the legislation. the legislation does not support the exclusivity ban. >> what happens when october rolls around? do we suddenly see exclusive contracts out there? >> the fears have been overstated, but i do not know for sure. >> your reaction to what mr. kaelin had to say. >> starting from a general premise, our regulations should
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take into account the current state of the marketplace. and scheck to the commission to continue it based upon an assessment of where things stood in the market at that point. we are now at that point because the exclusivity abn is scheduled to expire on friday. does this prohibition continue to be necessary in the interest of competition? one of the things i have been working with my colleagues on is how do we think about competition in this marketplace? we have heard it from a variety of people and have had a variety of perspectives. with respect to this particular incident, we have to keep track -- keet -- keep track and stay consistent with that. that has been of what has been proposed and without giving too much of a forecast, there is a
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general consensus based in part of the dc circuit a few years ago that competition has changed compared to where it was back in the 1990's. >> a representative sent a letter to the fcc asking it to be retained because it will stifle competition and lead to higher prices. >> there are perspectives on both sides of the question. he was one of the people who helped authorize this -- author this proposal. it increases the incentive for competitors to make investments in programming. you can use competition to keeping -- you can improve competition by keeping the abn. >> prior to joining the fcc, he
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served as deputy counsel that -- he has a law degree from the university of chicago. >> an impressive background. have you been lobbied by anyone who you have -- used to work with? >> no i have not. >> most of the people who comment on the public record spend a lot of time -- what are you going to do personally that your opinion is informed with what is happening with the average consumer? >> every confirmation hearing, i stated that i would hold no favor our prejudice with any
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particular company or segment of the industry. i would like to think that i have had privileged serving at the fcc and has stayed true to it -- true to that. a number have been with public interest groups, even individuals. when i go outside of washington to visit various places, and make a point of visiting citizens who have not been involved in the communications industry, but by decisions that we have had to make. i heard from citizens in kansas about different communications issues that affected them. it is a good way to stay grounded, as it were. it is too easy to think about these things as abstractions on a page that issues that affect real people. >> i am glad you mentioned
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kansas. after you visited there, you wrote that -- with respect to the google fiber project -- a side from its appellate his that are denied it -- >> at&t tried to introduce uverse in san francisco. it took them years to get the necessary approval. i mention that in particular because video is one area that has seen increased competition. you have this telecommunications provider trying to provide a video. municipalities and the government should do everything we can -- they can to reduce those barriers.
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>> david, when -- davdi cohen was not concerned about google being a fiber threat. do you think that is an issue that there is not enough capital? >> i cannot say whether there is enough capital, but i can say companies have told me they are sitting on billions of dollars on their balance sheet. they are going to be more hesitant to make those investments in fiber deployments or internet infrastructure. it is not worth taking the risk if -- >> it has been a priority to clear the red tape. is there something the fcc is not doing right? >> there are several things the
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commission could do. the first thing is what i mentioned earlier. making sure we do not expand or extended the biggest it -- regulation -- is a simple concept that has brought applications across several different areas. the title 2 remains open today. we want to signal to the private sector that we were not going to take a heavy-handed regulatory approach. we could close that docket and let the predecessor note that internet services and other services under the docket would be off the table, but we have not done that. it is a symbolic step, but it could go a long way to sending the right message. >> broadband policy. in that your view, has the
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national broadband plan been a successful one? >> the broadband plan has identified a number of worthwhile goals. the key is for the fcc to be more expeditious and taking the steps to meeting those goals. when it comes to spectrum, we should target each of the areas that were identified in the broadband plan. we need to make sure the commission takes action and i am be helpful to be working with the chairman to make that a reality. >> would you support it if it wanted to be pulled out further or if more money were to be expended towards that? furthering the broadband plan if there were a proposal? >> it depends on the specifics of the proposal. i stand with my colleagues in making sure we have broadband implements across the country.
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>> you mentioned a couple of times you do not want to see a regulation in the copper wire era today. there has been talked about revisiting some of the major telecommunications acts. is there a point of view that telephony and cable and broadband and mobile are all such as separate issues that they cannot be lumped into one telecommunications act, or would you like to see congress move forward? >> one thing everyone agrees on, regardless what particular position one might take is conversion is a reality. we have cable companies providing telephone service. we have telephone companies providing cable services. we have satellite companies providing broadband services. in that context, where
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convergence is the reality, it becomes difficult for the fcc to apply some of the principles of that act to an industry where you have convergence. it does not make sense to have that -- services under title three. cable services under title six. in convergence -- people are competing to provide each other services. >> i was there something we can do from the fcc perspective to make the transition an easier one. should congress see fit to revisit the act? i would stand to be a willing partner in that effort. . >> aside from the billing regulation, where should the
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fcc take action? but in terms of substance or procedural -- >> let me take the first one first. there are a number of different proposals that would allow the agency to respond more quickly to people on the outside who have asked for our guidance. a very simple one is setting deadlines. we often do not have deadlines. we are acting on positions for reconsideration. there arcane phrases that essentially -- this requires the commission to make an earlier decision either made by one ourselves -- ourselves or an earlier bureau. recently, at a house hearing, we were asked about an application that had been pending since
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1999. by setting a deadline for action, the commission could ensure that we could make some decision within a certain time frame. that is not just a good service that the parties that are proceeding, but the public will know that the commission is responding. it is not just sitting on an issue. from a substance standpoint, there are a lot of things we can do. we talked about infrastructure investments. media ownership as another one. we can update our rules to better account for chape -- changes. >> specifically, you proposed an office innovation to speed up the fcc approving or denying technology. has that got any traction? >> it is an inter-organizational
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proposal. we could do it if we wished. i get a favorable feedback from a number of different people. in general, they share my view that we should do everything we can to promote innovation. if this office can shine a spotlight on this, what i'd like to think of as a forgotten section, basically tell the commission to activate a technology within one year of its proposal. that could be something that we could do that could send a strong message to the private sector. >> do you think the fcc needs more personnel to enact these changes? >> no. we have an existing office that could be repurchased on what experts staff from the wireless
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bureau and engineering office. we would not need any additional personnel and money. >> as we tape this, it was announced that there is a potential merger between me tropcs and deutsche telecomm. what are your thoughts on such a merger? >> i am hesitant to express an opinion. i have not had at the benefit of meeting with these parties. i did not have a chance from a commissioner standpoint to dig into the issue. the proposed merger -- that is something we should look at very carefully.
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it is my view that the commission should resolve and of those transactions in at one hundred 80 days, if not sooner. is my hope that we do that. >> what would hold up for 180 days? >> in some cases in the past, the department of justice or federal communications commission has expressed concern about a particular transaction. i suppose that is something that could happen in the context of any transaction. my help as six months should be enough. >> according to your twitter feed, you met with metropcs. did they talk to you about the plan for the merger? >> no, they did not. >> really?
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[laughter] >> they talked about how they got off the ground. it started with two friends in a room and it has grown into one of the nation's biggest wireless companies. >> you have also been out in the silicon valley. recent article in "the wall street journal," -- what does that portend? >> i hope it does not portend that innovation is slowing down. that is the lifeblood of this industry. there are a lot of interesting things to make sure that does not happen. it would take a number of
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different measures to incentivize greater investments for start-ups in particular. if there is something the fcc can do to make sure that -- that there is continued -- >> does washington pay enough attention to silicon valley? >> it is quite often the case that washington and silicon valley do not think of each other all that much. when i was in silicon valley, people expressed concern about spectrum, but they did not think the fcc was going to do much about it. in washington, i hear silicon valley -- i hear that people in silicon valley do not understand the telecommunications act that we have to operate under. even though we all share the same goal of maintaining a same goal of maintaining a